Last updated: January 02. 2014 2:13PM - 613 Views
Coach Jim Fowler Sports Columnist

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 2104 is here and I am in the mood to project what we might see in the sports’ world during the next twelve months. Oh, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can take a wild shot at what we might see throughout the year in the sports world. If I do a good job, I will comeback at the end of the year and brag on myself, but if I don’t come close I’ll just let it drop. Here goes!

The winter Olympics are coming up soon. I don’t know the exact dates because I don’t care too much for the winter games. The events just don’t interest me. Hockey, figure skating, skiing, etc. just aren’t my cup of tea. My wife, Karen, loves these games, so I’m sure our TV will be tuned in constantly. I’ll just go to another room! I’m sure that the USA will do well in these games since we normally have a strong team. Go red, white and blue!
In February we will see the Braves gather in Lake Buena Vista for another spring training. I plan to be there for about ten days and I really look forward to another season.The Braves won 96 games and the Eastern Division last year with two starters hitting under .200. My projection is that they will not match that number this year, especially if Uggla and Upton continue to struggle. I’ll give the Braves 88-90 wins and a run at the eastern title, but I’ll just have to say that they will finish second. I hope I’m wrong!
Looking at the 2014 football season I’ll save my prediction for the Upson-Lee Knights. We don’t have a head coach right now, so it’s difficult to project what might happen. We do have some excellent players returning and will be playing in a new region. I will say that the Knights will make the playoffs and that David Marshall will be an all-state performer.
I predict that Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson will be on the “hot seat” next year. His program is in a stagnant state and the Jackets have a new athletic director who may want to put his own man in charge. I think that Tech should be having more success and Johnson might be on the way out if they don’t come up with a big season in 2014.
Mark Richt is always on the “hot seat” at Georgia in some people’s minds. I don’t agree, but Georgia has so much talent and should be better on a regular basis. Dawg fans are tough and expect an eastern division championship every year and although Richt has delivered a consistent contender, he hasn’t met the criteria of some Bulldog supporters. This thing could get interesting if Richt has a bad year in 2104. I don’t see that happening and I predict an eastern division crown for Georgia in 2014. Tennessee might be their toughest foe.
The Alabama Crimson Tide will have to replace A.J. McCarron at quarterback next year and that will be tough. I think that western division teams have closed the gap on Alabama, but they still have the talent to win consistently. I hate to say this, but I’ll predict that the Tide will recover and win the SEC west next year. Oh that hurt so bad!
My Auburn Tigers will be good next year but their record will probably not be as good as this year’s. They have to go to Kansas State, Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss and those will be tough places to get a win. The Tigers will win nine games and go to a nice bowl, but they still need two good recruiting classes to seriously challenge for the west title every year. But never fear, they will get there!
And as for the Atlanta Falcons, I don’t know where to start. I don’t think that Mike Smith is in danger of losing his job right now; however, the Falcons’ talent scouts had better get to work on putting together a blockbuster draft. Even I can see that they need help on the offensive line as well as the defensive line. If they can’t fix those areas, they will not win in 2014.I look for some improvement in 2014 but I see Atlanta winning 8 or 9 games and failing to make the playoffs again. I think that they weren’t as good as their record in 2012 and it showed this year. They need more talent throughout the entire roster. Another bad year in 2014 could put Smith in a precarious position. We’ll see!
And oh yeah, in March Madness I’ll take Arizona or Michigan State for the NCAA title. I don’t know why, I just do. I might change my mind when the brackets come out, but for right now that’s where I stand.
That’s a few projections for 2014. The lack of space forbids me from going any further. We’ll just have to wait and see how well I did. I’m second-guessing myself already!

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